The Small Urban Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM) is a U.S. Department of Transportation Tier 1 University Transportation Center that combines the talents of the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University, Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University, and the Urban and Regional Planning Program at Eastern Washington University (EWU). SURTCOM seeks to enhance mobility in small urban, rural, and tribal areas through research, technical assistance, and capacity building.
Each of the university partners has taken a different focus in this project with EWU primarily focused on the mobility needs and challenges faced by tribal communities. Specifically, SURTCOM at EWU focuses on a region consisting of 71 federally recognized American Indian reservations extending across nine states: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming.
These reservations also span across five Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) regions, four Indian Health Services (IHS) regions, and encompasses over 10 unique tribal language groups. Each of these reservations is home to one federally recognized tribe, with the exception of the Wind River Reservation, which is home to both the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.
- Margo Hill, JD, Associate Professor, Eastern Washington University
- David Kack, MBA, Director, Western Transportation Institute, Montana State University
- Jill Hough, PhD, Associate Professor, North Dakota State University
About Eastern Washington University
Eastern Washington University’s Urban & Regional Planning Program offers a Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Regional Planning (BA-URP), a Master of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP), and an Executive Certificate in Tribal Planning. EWU has a long history of support and active engagement with Native American planning efforts. EWU faculty and staff have worked with, and continue to work with, all aspects of tribal communities throughout the U.S., including elected tribal leaders and their staff, as well as tribal community members on and off reservations.
EWU Urban & Regional Planning has:
- Established an EWU Tribal & Technical Assistance Program for a Summer Institute in Tribal Planning;
- Administered the Northwest Tribal Technical Assistance Program (NW TTAP) & the Alaska Tribal Technical Assistance Program (AK TTAP); and
- Created a graduate-level Executive Certificate Tribal Planning Program and a BA-URP degree specialization in tribal planning.
Graduates of our degree programs have gone on to work in and outside Indian Country in a variety of professional planning capacities, such as community development, economic development, land use, housing, transportation/transit, and environmental planning. They serve in positions such as elected leaders, consultants, tribal staff, and entrepreneurs across the nation.
The mission of the Small Urban, Rural, and Tribal Center on Mobility is to conduct research and provide leadership, education, workforce development, and technology transfer in all transportation-related aspects of mobility for people and goods, focusing specifically on small urban, rural, and tribal areas.
SURTCOM works to improve the mobility of people and goods, while also addressing focus areas such as:
- Increase access to opportunities that promote equity in connecting regions and communities, including urban, rural, and tribal communities
- Develop innovations to improve multi-modal connections, system integration, and security
- Develop response options to modal shifts
- Enhance access to ridesharing and alternative forms of transportation including, especially transit
- Increase active transportation modes, including walking and cycling
- Increase land use and transportation planning capacity
- Increase implementation of Smart Cities planning and development for tribal and small urban communities
- Increase knowledge on the link between health and transportation
- Increase workforce development and capacity building through the dissemination of practice-ready research
- Healthcare deserts: Identifying areas of limited access in Washington State. (Poster) American Associate of Geographers National Conference, April 2019. Washington, DC.
- Healthcare deserts: Identifying areas of limited access in Washington State. (Poster) Transportation Research Board Committee on Native American Transportation, January 2019. Washington, DC.
- Mapping healthcare deserts: Identifying areas of limited access in Washington State. (Poster) National Tribal GIS Conference, November 2018. Albuquerque, NM.
- Mobility and access on American Indian reservations in the Western United States. (Poster) Tribal Planning and Western Planner Conference, August 2018. Fort Hall, ID.
- American Indian accessibility to preventative healthcare. (Poster) American Planning Association National Planning Conference, April 2018, New Orleans, LA.
- Mobility and access on American Indian Reservations in the Western United States. (Poster) Transportation Research Board Committee on Native American Transportation, January 2018. Washington, DC.
- “Tribal Mobility for American Indian Reservations in the Nine Western United States: Contexts & Frameworks for Tribal Empowerment in Transportation.” Authors: Winchell, Hill, Rolland, Scully, and Becker.
- “Mobility and Resource Accessibility for Federally Recognized American Indian Reservations within the Western United States.” Authors: Scully, Becker.
- “Locational Hospital Accessibility & the role of Federally Recognized American Indian Reservations within Washington State.” Authors: Scully, Becker.
- Hill, M.L. & Rolland, R. (2018, January). Transportation Research Board. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. Washington, D.C.
- Becker, Z. & Scully, J. (2018, March). Mobility and access in a tribal context. NW Tribal Transportation Symposium. Airway Heights, WA.
- Hill, M.L. & Rolland, R. (2018, September). Creating a Culture of Traffic Safety. National Tribal Transportation Conference, Tucson, Arizona.
- Hill, M.L. (2018, October). Emerging Mobility and Safety Issues I the Pacific Northwest. PacTrans Region 10 and CSET Transportation Conference. Fairbanks, AK.
- Hill, M., Rolland, R.(2019, January). Participated in the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and provided and update on SURTCOM goals and objectives. Hill Chaired the Drug and Alcohol Prevention Committee and Presented Videos from Drug Prevention Summit. Transportation Research Board 98th Annual Meeting. Washington D.C.
- Hill, M., (2019, February). “Developing a Culture of Traffic Safety.” NW Tribal Transportation Symposium. Airway Heights, WA.
- Hill, M. (2019, March). Presented Tribal Traffic Safety Coyote books & CDs to Hearts Gathered Tribal Language School. Omak, Washington.
- Hill, M. Ning Li, (2019, April). “Colville Tribal Mobility and Traffic Safety.” Western Social Science Association, San Diego, California.
- Hill, M. (2019, April). “What is Urban Planning, Tribal Planning and Tribal Mobility.” Haskell Indian Nations University, Lawrence, Kansas.
- Hill, M., Campobasso, A. (2019, May). Update with EWU SURTCOM. NW Tribal Transportation Planning Organization. Airway Heights, WA.
- Hill, M., Rolland, R. (2019, May). Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI), present SURTCOM updates to Transportation Committee. Hill, M., Chair, Drug Prevention Committee sessions. Airway Heights, WA
- Hill, M. (2019, May). Keynote speaker. Cultural Resource Protection Summit. Suquamish, WA.
- Hill, M. (2019, June). Yakama Nation Tribal Treaty Days Parade and Community Fair. Yakama Tribal Traffic Safety Committee, Toppenish, Washington.
- Hill, M. (2019, June) “Federal Indian Law, Tribal Jurisdiction and Tribal Traffic Safety.” Spokane Tribal TANF Youth Program. Spokane, WA
- Hill, M., Heller, M. (2019, June). Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI) Climate Change Camp. Flathead Lake, Montana.
- Hill, M. (2019, August), “Transportation, Tribal Jurisdiction and Federal Indian Law.” Washington State Transit Authority (WSTA) Public Transportation Conference. Seattle, Washington.
- Hill, M., Campobasso, A., Rolland, R. (2019, September) “Pedestrian safety strategies: Policy implementation, infrastructure and engagement on the Spokane Tribe”. National Transportation in Indian Country Conference. Big Sky MT.
- Hill, M. (2019, September). “Tribal Transit’s Role in Countering Human Trafficking and Safe Mobility of Indigenous Women.” National Tribal Transportation in Indian Country, Big Sky, MT.
- Hill, M., Campobasso, A., Rolland, R. (2019, September) TRB Native American Issues Committee mid-year. Big Sky, MT
- Rolland, R. (2019, October). PACTRANS-CSET Regional Transportation Conference, University of Washington. Seattle, WA.
- Hill, M., Scully, J. (attended) (2019, October). “Opioid Crisis in Tribal Communities – Pathways to Recovery.” Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP), Greenville, South Carolina.
- Hill, M., Campobasso, A. (2019, October). Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians (ATNI). Provided comments to Tribal Transportation Committee on Tribal Transit and Hill Chaired Drug Prevention Committee. Suquamish, Washington.
- Hill, M. (2019, November). “MMIW – Murdered and Mission Indigenous Women.” South Hill Library, Spokane, Washington.
- Hill, M. (2019, November). “Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women – Safe Mobility of Indigenous Women.” Gonzaga University, Spokane, Washington.
- Hill, M. Presiding Officer, Lectern Session (2020, January). “Incorporating the Opioid Epidemic into Highway Safety Planning.” Transportation Research Board (TRB) 99th Annual Meeting January 13, 2020. Washington D.C.
- Hill, M. Presiding Officer, Lectern Session (2020, January). “Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women: Implications for Transportation.” Transportation Research Board (TRB) 99th Annual Meeting January 15, 2020. Washington D.C.
- Campobasso, A. (2020, January). “Tribal Mobility & Sustainability- Effects of Climate Change” Transportation Research Board (TRB) 99th Annual Meeting January 15, 2020. Washington D.C.
EWU SURTCOM continues the work and activities provided by the former NW TTAP and AK TTAP programs while emphasizing new research that addresses critical needs for mobility and will lead to data-driven policies for tribal communities.
Notably, SURTCOM has helped to organize the annual Northwest Tribal Transportation Symposium, National Transportation in Indian Country Conference, with workshops on leadership, safety, and mobility.
SURTCOM is actively working with American Indian Business Leaders (AIBL) & American Indian Science & Engineers (AISES) organizations towards educational outreach with local area high schools and tribal colleges [link to the national AISES & AIBL] to provide on-going education in the fields of urban, rural, tribal, transit, transportation, community, economic development, land-use, housing, parks planning, science, and engineering by assisting native youth in these much needed planning-profession for Indian Country and surrounding communities.
Ms. Campobasso is an enrolled Colville Confederated Tribal member who has a passion for working for Indian Country to improve the health, safety, and welfare of Native American Communities, Tribes, and reservations. She has earned her Master of Science degree in Urban & Regional Planning, which includes a Master’s in Public Administration, and an Executive Certificate in Tribal Planning from Eastern Washington University, and is a two-time recipient of the Eisenhower Fellowship in Transportation. With over 20 years of experience with working with and for many tribes throughout the western United States, Ms. Campobasso brings both the experience and knowledge needed to help promote positive outcomes through the production and facilitation of transportation research.
Margo Hill is a Spokane Tribal member and was raised on the Spokane Indian reservation. She earned a Juris Doctorate from the University of Gonzaga School of Law and a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Eastern Washington University. As the Spokane Tribal Attorney and Coeur d’Alene Tribal Court Judge she has worked in the legal field to protect tribal sovereignty and provide legal counsel to Tribal Council and assist in the revision of Tribal Law and Order Codes. She has served as a contractor for the Bureau of Indian Affairs Office of Justice Services to complete Tribal Court Assessments. Margo Hill is an Assistant Professor at Eastern Washington University in Urban & Regional Planning and the Director of the Eastern Washington University Tribal Planning Program.
David Kack, MBA, is the recently appointed Interim Director of WTI and the Program Manager for Mobility and Public Transportation. He has eighteen years of public/private sector transportation design, research, and operations experience. His specialized expertise includes coordinated transportation systems, planning and evaluation, public transportation/transit design and analysis, data collection, and cost/benefit analysis. In his 15 years at WTI, David has focused on many projects to improve mobility within Montana and increase coordination among various agencies and organizations. David was part of the team that created the Montana Coordinated Transportation Handbook© and then implemented its coordination principles in the Real Choices Systems Change Grant project. He also helped launch two new public transportation systems in Montana, Streamline, in the greater Bozeman area, and Skyline in Big Sky. His current research focus is on applying livability principles in small urban and rural areas. He currently Directs a TIER 1 UTC: The Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM) and previously directed the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC), also a Tier 1 UTC.
Jill Hough, PhD
Jill Hough, PhD
Jill Hough is an associate professor and the director of the Small Urban and Rural Transit Center within the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute at North Dakota State University. She has authored or co-authored more than 75 research reports and journal articles and given more than one hundred presentations at the regional, national, and international levels. She is the instructor of a graduate-level course on Public Transportation and of a graduate course on Leadership, Ethics and Academic Conduct. Hough served two three-year terms on the National Academies of Science’s Transit Cooperative Research Program Oversight Project Selection Committee (TOPS). Hough has testified during the USDOT’s Transportation Reauthorization Outreach Tour and she has testified before the U.S. Senate Budget Committee regarding the importance of infrastructure. Hough earned her BS and MS degrees in agricultural economics from NDSU and her PhD in transportation technology and policy from the University of California, Davis.